Featured Review: ‘Direct Fire’ by A.J. Tata

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Former brigadier general turned best-selling author A.J. Tata (Besieged, 2017) kicks off his fourth Jake Mahegan thriller with a powerful opening that introduces readers to Jackknife, a cold-blooded killer who serves as a worthy antagonist and a formidable opponent for Tata’s hero.

After slaughtering a billionaire banker and his family in the dark of the night, Jackknife turns his attention to the next name on his list–former Army paratrooper and ex-Delta Force operative, Jake Mahegan.

Meanwhile, upon receiving an urgent text from General Bob Savage over his secure Zebra communications app instructing him to meet former Delta teammates, Patch Owens and Sean O’Malley, Jake Mahegan heads to a rustic cabin in the middle of the Longleaf Pine Golf Resort located in North Carolina’s golf mecca, Moore County. There, Jake walks into a trap, which ends worse for those foolish enough to think they could trap an apex predator with nothing more than a few AR-15s. 

Armed with his trusty Sig Saur Tribal, Jake flees to General Savage’s “continuation of operations protocol command center,” better known as the COOP. There, he meets up with Alexandra “Alex” Russell, a JAG attorney and colleague of Savage who’s investigating the murder case involving the banker and his family.

When Jake recognizes the murder weapon in question as the same .45 Colt Ranger special that his unit gave to Savage, he realizes there’s a deeper plot hard at work behind the scenes. Unbeknownst to Mahegan and Alex, a terrorist hellbent on exacting revenge on America is secretly assembling terrorist cells in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which is just the tip of the iceberg. 

As Jake races to connect the dots and figure out the terrorists’ intended targets, Tata kicks the pacing into overdrive–making an already fun and compelling story certifiably unputdownable. 

Where Tata separates himself from the competition is with his unique and terrifying attack scenarios. The all-too-real feel of panic and suspense is critical to getting lost in the story, and Tata continues to improve as a writer, making it easier for readers to believe what’s happening as he brings it to life on the page. 

Likewise, Tata’s continued to develop his series protagonist, hitting all the right notes with the last two books especially. Direct Fire sees a slightly different Jake Mahegan, who finally displays the full effects of his ridiculously lethal skill set, and it’s awesome. 

Mahegan, a thirty-year-old Native American with a love for the ocean flowing freely in his blood and a call to duty seemingly written into his DNA, is a walking, talking weapon. More prone to brute force than surgical strikes, Jake is no doubt one of the baddest men in the thriller genre right now. While the blazing-fast plot is tight and on point, Tata’s real treat to readers is finally unleashing his operative, who continues living up to all the hype promised in past books, like they’ve never seen before. 

Evil men might be planning to bring the war on terror to America, but what they weren’t counting on is Jake Mahegan being there to greet them…

Jake Mahegan has officially arrived. Direct Fire is a relentless, action-packed thriller that screams with been-there-done-that authenticity, elevating A.J. Tata’s series to the likes of Brad Thor, Ben Coes, and Mark Greaney. 

Book Details

Author: A.J. Tata
Series: Jake Mahegan #4
Pages: 464 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1496706641
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: December 26, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10
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